Collection of a Money Judgment

If you sued someone for money and received a judgment against that person, you have the right to collect the money.

How Much Can I Collect?
You can collect the amount stated in your judgmen,t plus any interest that accumulates during the time the other party pays off the judgment and certain other costs allowable by statute.How Can I Collect My Money?
There are several ways you can collect your money:

1.  If the other party (defendant) has the money and is present at trial, s/he can pay you right then.

2.  If s/he does not have the money at that time, the judge may set up a payment schedule.  

     If the defendant is not present at the trial, the court will send a copy of the judgment to the defendant. 

3.  If the defendant doesn't pay the judgment as ordered, you will have to collect the money through a Seizure of Property (also called an Execution) or a Garnishment.

What is Seizure of Property?
Seizure of property is a court procedure allowing a court officer to seize property belonging to the defendant which can be sold to pay for your judgment.  If you want to file a request to seize property, you may use form MC 19Request and Order to Seize Property.

What is Garnishment?
Garnishment is a court procedure allowing you to collect your judgment directly from the defendant's wages, bank account, or other source such as income tax refunds.  If you want to file a garnishment, see the court clerk for the proper forms.  Instructions are included with the forms.  

How Do I Get An Request and Order to Seize Property Or A Garnishment?
To get an Request and Order to Seize Property or a garnishment, you will first need to know where the defendant lives and works, what assets s/he has and where those assets are located, and any other information which identifies the defendant and his/her property.

*  If you have the information described above, you can start the process for an order to seize property or for a garnishment.

*  If you don't have the information described above, you will need to order the defendant to appear in court for questioning through a process called discovery..  You can start this process by filing a discovery subpoena.

How do I file a Discovery Subpoena?
You must wait 21 days after your judgment was signed before you can file a discovery subpoena.  Form MC 11 Subpoena (Order to Appear) can be used.

Contact the court for an appearance date before putting the date and location on the form.  Complete both the front of the Subpoena and the Affidavit for Judgment Debtor Examination on the back.  The judge must sign the Subpoenabefore it's effective.  Once the Subpoena is signed it must be served on the defendant.

The fee for filing the Subpoena with the court varies.  The cost of serving it also varies.  

How do I file a Request to Seizure Property?
You must wait 21 days after your judgment was signed before you can get an order to seize property.  Form MC 19Request and Order to Seize Propertyis used to start this process.   Complete the Request and Verification portion of form MC 19 and file it with the court.  The filing fee varies.  If the judge agrees this is appropriate, the court will issue the writ (order) by signing the form, and it will be executed by a sheriff or court officer.

When do I get my money from an Request and Order to Seize Property? Any property that is seized will be sold at public auction and the money given to you.  The sheriff or court officer is entitled to fees which will be deducted from the sale of the property.

How do I file a Garnishment?
You must wait 21 days after your judgment was signed before you can get a garnishment. Form MC 12,  MC 13, or MC 52Request and Writ of Garnishment, is used to start the garnishment process.   There are two three ypes of garnishment: 1) periodic, and 2) non-periodic, and income tax garnishment.

periodic writ of garnishment (MC 12) is used to garnish the defendant's wages, rent payments, land contract payments, or other debt which is paid to the defendant on a periodic basis.   A periodic garnishment is valid for up to 91 days or until the judgment, interest and costs are paid off, whichever occurs first.

non-periodic writ of garnishment (MC 13) is used to garnish the defendant's bank account or other property.  Once money has been garnished under the non-periodic writ, the writ is no longer valid.  If there is a remaining balance on the judgment, you must get another writ to collect more money.

An income tax writ of garnishment (MC 52) is used to intercept the defendant's income tax return.  Once the tax has been intercepted by the Department of Treasury, the writ is no longer valid.  If there is a remaining balance on the judgment, you must get another writ to collect more money.

Fill in the names and addresses of both defendant and the garnishee on the Request part of the form.  The garnisheeis the person or business who has control or possession of the defendant's money.   Once you complete the Request, you must file it with the district court that entered your small claims judgment.  The filing fee is $15.00.

The court will issue the Writ (order) by signing the form.  The Request and Writ must be served on the garnishee along with the Disclosure, form MC 14.  If the garnishment is for periodic payments or income tax intercept, there is an additional $6.00 disclosure fee.  The cost of serving the Writ varies.

When do I get my money from the garnishment?  The garnishee has 14 days after the Writ is served to let you , the court, and the defendant know if any money is available for garnishment.  This information will be provided on form MC 14, Garnishee Disclosure.  If you are trying to garnish wages, you will only receive part of the wages based on a federal formula.

If money is available, it will be withheld from the defendant right away.  However, this money will be held for 28 days to allow the defendant time for objections.  If there are no objections, the withheld money will be automatically sent to you after 28 days.  If the garnishment is for periodic payments, money will continue to be sent to you as payments become due to the defendant until the writ expires.

What Else Can I Do? 
If your case against the defendant involved a traffic accident, you can ask the court for an abstract of judgment which suspends the defendant's Michigan driver license until s/he pays the judgment.   You must wait 30 days after the judgment date before you can get an abstract of judgment.  You need to provide the defendant's full name, date of birth, and Michigan driver license number.  There is no filing fee.  The court clerk should have the necessary forms.